Finding Your God Center

Finding Your God Center

Finding your God center is an ongoing journey for Christ-followers. Because we live in a world of opposites. Right and left. Hot and cold. Big and little. And the best location is somewhere in the middle. Here are three principles from Ephesians 5:15-21 to help you find your God center.

Finding your God center involves watching your walk

V.15  Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,,,

The word “walk” in v.15 is used figuratively and means your personal conduct and behavior. And notice that Paul takes a positive, proactive approach. He doesn’t rag on you about all the bad things to avoid. Or prescribe a specific “to do” list of good things either. But he provides three general principles to follow.

  • Take charge of your conduct
  • Control your use of time
  • Consider God’s will

Of course, our conduct is not completely controllable because we are still sinful. And often speak and act without thinking. But you can be mindful of it. And that begins with your identity as a child of God. Along with an awareness his Spirit is always present for support. You’re also to be mindful of his will as revealed through scripture. Like demonstrating love for others and treating people how you want to be treated. Along with other instructions throughout the Bible that present God’s will.

Watching your walk is both challenging and rewarding. Prayer, Bible Study, Worship and walking with other Christ-followers helps a lot.

Finding Your God Center involves navigating between legalism and license

V.18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit

The two opposites for Christ-followers are legalism and license. Walking on the extreme side of either one is like hugging a porcupine. It gets prickly.

The Ten Commandments represent God’s law and are fairly straight forward. And the inspired writers of the New Testament added other teachings we accept as straight from God. But sometimes, we add our own extra rules not spelled out in scripture. And then make our rules as important as God’s law.

This sometimes, leads to pride because we do such a good job keeping them all. Which, by the way is a sin, so maybe we didn’t do as well as we think. But other times, keeping those rules becomes a heavy burden. And God doesn’t want that for us either. Because He gives us grace. And Jesus wants us to experience the truth that sets us free.

On the other hand, grace is often used as an excuse for license.

Because Paul reminds us in Ephesians 2:8-9 we are saved by grace and not works. Our relationship with Jesus Christ frees us from the law because of grace. And if you push grace to the extreme, you can reason that because God forgives your sin, you can simply sin and ask his forgiveness. Although Paul reminds us that grace is not freedom to sin.

And he warns about a lifestyle of debauchery which is unrestrained indulgence of lust and sensuality. And just like legalism, can become a form of bondage. In the middle of legalism and license is a lifestyle that pursues holiness and righteousness. Not because you have to, but want to please God.

And again. Prayer, Bible study, worship and walking with other Christ-followers helps a lot.

Finding Your God Center involves getting over yourself

V. 21 Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Entitlement is the word for our culture. Submission the word of God. And it’s not easy. Because of course, you have rights. So did Jesus. But he gave them up for you and me. And says if you will be his disciple you must take up your cross and follow him.

The Greek word for “submission” is hupŏtassō and means to be obedient, subject yourself to and put yourself under. It doesn’t mean demeaning or disrespecting yourself. But choosing an attitude of humility. Nor is Paul talking about political, civil rights. But how to interact with others in your personal relationships.

As Jesus demonstrated to his disciples at the last supper, following him involves a heart willing to serve.

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

God’s Word Guides, Frees, and Redeems

God’s Word Guides, Frees, and Redeems

God’s Word Guides, Frees, and Redeems you according to Psalm 119:129-136. It guides you with light and understanding, frees you from the bondage of sin, and redeems you from man’s oppression.

Because the Bible is not a collection of rules that take the fun out of life. But it molds you into the person God created you to be.

God’s word guides, frees, and redeems you by providing light and understanding

V.130 The unfolding of your word gives light and imparts understanding…

We live in a complicated world. Confused by competing messages. Fooled by deception. Captured through seduction.

What can you believe? Who can you trust? How can you know when something is true?

The Bible claims to be God’s words. According to 2 Timothy 3:16-17, it’s God breathed. Which means He supernaturally spoke through its writers. Therefore, it is absolute truth. Accurate. Consistent. Reliable.

In a world blanketed by the darkness of sin, God’s word illuminates with a discerning brightness. And His Spirit guides your understanding. So when you read, study, and know His word, you recognize what’s false by holding it up to His truth.

God’s word guides, frees, and redeems you by releasing you from the bondage of sin

V.133 Keep steady my steps and let no iniquity get dominion over me

Sin is subtle. Stealthy. And quietly creeps up on you. We seldom plunge into it headlong, but slowly and imperceptibly. One slight detour from God’s path followed by another. A slow fade of small decisions in a parade moving steadily away from God. The gradual slide into a sink hole until we are firmly stuck in a mire.

And it starts off as fun and pleasure. Harmless and victimless. Until its seductive lure becomes a compulsory grip you can’t escape. God’s words guide you towards right behavior. His precepts towards healthy relationships driven by character and integrity.

And while many claim God’s word burdens you with legalistic demands, Jesus claimed the opposite. His truth sets you free. And his power releases you from the bondage of sin.

God’s word guides, frees, and redeems you by redeeming you from oppression

V.134 Redeem me from man’s oppression that I may keep your precepts

The desire for acceptance. Social expectations. Cancel culture. They are powerful forces that exert themselves in society. And the loudest, most insistent voices demand compliance. Even when you think or believe differently. And especially when you disagree.

So what do you do?

You can reverse your position and go with the flow. Disagree, but remain silent. Or stand firm and risk rejection.

And while I don’t have a specific answer on how to respond to the culture, scripture does reveal how to overcome oppression. Galatians 4:3-7 and Luke 4:18 are two passages among many others that provide an answer. The power of Christ and the power of God’s word offer freedom to those willing to listen and respond.

About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

Finding God’s Purpose From Three Perspectives

Finding God’s Purpose From Three Perspectives

Finding God’s purpose from three perspectives considers God’s eternal purpose, greater purpose, and practical purpose.

Who am I? Why am I here? What’s my purpose?

We all ask these profound questions at some point in life. And a comprehensive view of purpose considers it from three perspectives.

Finding God’s purpose from three perspectives considers your eternal purpose

Scripture teaches we were created to praise, worship, and live in community with God for eternity. But the entrance of sin ruined this relationship. However, Jesus Christ sacrificed himself for sin and restores the relationship with his gift of salvation.

A secular mindset rejects the authority of a creator and celebrates individual autonomy. But complete individual autonomy is an illusion. Because no one survives without God’s sustaining presence in the world and the cooperation of other people.

Here are a few scripture passages about your eternal purpose.

Finding God’s purpose from three perspectives considers your greater purpose

We all want to make our life count. To advance a mission…find a special calling…work for a higher cause. Scripture encourages us to use our gifts, talents, and abilities for God’s glory. And serve His kingdom.

But this perspective is also where we often get hung up. As if a greater purpose and God’s will for our life is a mystery we have to solve. So we take personal inventories, career aptitude, and spiritual gift tests to determine where we fit in the world and in God’s plan. And sometimes obsess in analysis paralysis.

Two principles that have guided me in finding God’s purpose for my life

1. One of my seminary professors, Grady Lowery, always said, “find what you do best for the Kingdom of God and do it.”

Sounds almost too simple, right? And yet it has helped me navigate different career choices in church ministry and the secular marketplace. But always with a sense that God was leading and in control.

So what passion has God has placed in your heart? What gifts and abilities has he given you? How can you best use them for His Kingdom? The answer to these questions will often provide a pathway.

2. Henry Blackaby, author of Experiencing God invites us to “join God where he is working.”
This advice led me into many ministries over the years. Rather than searching for my exact fit, like a solitary piece in God’s grand puzzle, I simply walked through open doors of opportunity where God was clearly working. And I never felt like any of them were outside of God’s will.

Here are a few scripture passages to also consider.

Finding God’s purpose from three perspectives considers your practical purpose

God’s Word is not a collection of rules and regulations to control you. But guidance for a life that honors, glorifies, and pleases Him. As you follow its precepts, you’ll pursue God’s intended purpose for this life.

Because rather than confine you, it helps you navigate the relationships and circumstances in life. Nor does it suppress your individuality and unique abilities. But encourages you to fully express them for God’s glory.

Need a purpose statement? A scripture verse I use is Micah 6:8.

“He has told you O man, what is good and what the Lord requires of you. To live justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

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About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

A Study of Philippians 3:12-16

A Study of Philippians 3:12-16

A Study of Philippians 3:12-16 shows a work in progress, a certain future, and strong finish for Christ-followers.

A Study of Philippians 3:12-16 shows a work in progress

V.12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.

Every Christ-follower is a work in progress. Even Paul admitted it about himself. His desire was to grow in Christ-likeness, but it was a process that would continue his entire life. And it should represent our goal too.

The phrase “make it my own” is translated from the Greek word katalambanō which means to take eagerly, seize, possess. The NIV Bible translates it “take hold of” and perhaps, more accurately describes Paul’s meaning.

Paul admits that as a human he is imperfect. Although he pursues perfection and eagerly strives to take hold of it. But he lives with the assurance that it’s not all on him. Jesus has also, taken hold of him.

REFLECT & RECORD

Describe how you sense that Jesus has taken hold of you? As you consider your own progress toward Christ-likeness, how are you doing in your eagerness to take hold of it?

A Study of Philippians 3:12-16 shows a certain future

V.13 forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead…

Paul doesn’t hold on to any of his credentials or regrets of past sins. And neither should we.

In other words, he doesn’t forget what’s behind by wiping the past from his memory. But by refusing to let it effect his forward progress. He won’t leverage credentials to his advantage or let past sin weigh him down with guilt and shame. Which is a common strategy Satan employs against Christ-followers. If he can’t keep you from entering the Kingdom of God, he’ll try to block you from taking others with you by making you feel inadequate.

Because most of us live with regrets. Things we shouldn’t have done but did. As well as things we should have done and didn’t. And this is where we lean on God’s grace because it covers them all.

A Study of Philippians 3:12-16 shows a strong finish

V.14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Paul communicates the picture of a runner leaning forward with all his energy as he crosses the finish line. Which is called “a strong finish” in track and field jargon. Because when you’re in a race, it’s critical to ignore the other runners next to you and focus on crossing the finish line looking straight ahead and at full speed. Paul turns that image into a spiritual analogy. He’s leaning forward in the finish of his spiritual race and the anticipation of collecting an eternal reward.

It’s a good question to think about. Are you in a spiritual sprint looking straight ahead or a sight-seeing trot toward heaven?

V.15 Let those of us who are mature think this way,

The Greek word teleo is translated “perfect” in V.12 and “mature” in V.15. And it means to carry out, complete, and fulfill. So Paul does not mean absolute perfection in V.12, but reaching a level of spiritual completeness. To grow to a point of fulfilling the purpose God has for you.

REFLECT & RECORD

In what ways does your Christian walk demonstrate spiritual maturity? Where does it need adjustment? Are you progressing? Stagnant? Regressing? Where is adjustment needed?

In conclusion, it’s important to acknowledge absolute perfection is out of reach in this life. But we should strain forward towards that goal. And show progression towards a greater level of spiritual maturity.

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About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

God’s Equipment For Spiritual Battle: Part Two

God’s Equipment For Spiritual Battle: Part Two

God’s equipment for spiritual battle is described in the book of Ephesians 6:10-18. And is most commonly known among Christians as Putting On the Armor of God.

It represents God’s protection for Christ-followers when fighting spiritual battles. In part one, I talked about the first three pieces of armor. Here are the other pieces.

God’s equipment for spiritual battle takes up the shield of faith

The Roman shield was large enough to cover the entire body. It was made of wood and bound together at the top and bottom with metal bands. And when dipped in water, could extinguish flaming arrows from the enemy.

What are those fiery darts Paul describes in v.16?

The possibilities are endless and different for all of us. But probably best represented by the areas where you are most vulnerable to attack.

Perhaps the doubt, fear, or discouragement the enemy jabs at you. A bad habit you can’t conquer. The lies he whispers in your ear about yourself. Or hurtful words hurled at you by someone else.

Faith is your vote of confidence in God. Where you remind yourself you are covered by God’s grace. Secure in the grip of His love and the assurance He has your back. And that you are destined for His eternal presence.

God’s equipment for spiritual battle includes the helmet of salvation

Satan tries to get into your head. Mess with your mind. Psych you out. He knows if you are saved through Jesus Christ, he can’t pluck you out of God’s hand. Your eternal destiny is secure. So his strategy is to confuse you. Confound you. And drag you down through sin so you’re ineffective for God’s Kingdom.

But knowing your salvation is secure gives you confidence in your fight. Because even though you are still a sinner, and will continue to sin, God’s power helps you resist temptations. And win some of those sin battles too.

In other words, the helmet of salvation is eternal, but also saves you from the power of sin in this life. And encourages you to press on in the fight.

God’s equipment for spiritual battle wields the sword of the spirit

The Bible is God’s word. His truth. And final authority on all subject matter related to this life. God promises it won’t return to him void.

It is your one offensive weapon in spiritual battles. And it’s impossible for Satan to refute. But be warned. He also knows it well and will twist its meaning to serve his purpose. Satan’s allies will do the same.

But it was the authority Jesus turned to when he was tempted by Satan. And King David kept close for use in his own spiritual battles.

Because God’s word penetrates to the soul. Judges the heart. And reveals God’s love and purpose for mankind. Rather than fight in the power of human reasoning, it equips you with the truth and wisdom of God.

Study it. Seek to know it. And memorize it. Because it is THE ANSWER, when you don’t have an answer.

Prayer is not equipment but is critical in spiritual warfare

Prayer may not be equipment, but it is a valuable weapon in spiritual battles. Because it aligns you with the will of God. Activates His power. And keeps you in His safeguarding presence.

More than simply regular habit. It should be a constant conversation with your eternal, loving Father.

Your direct source to God for His strength in the fight.

About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.